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Lost at Sea: The story of a Rohingya man in search of safety

We are the Rohingya nation; we are searching for our shore. Hang on, child; wherever you run, wind, water, and fire will chase you.

While one million Rohingya refugees in Cox Bazar's camp continue to suffer in dire situations with no certainty about their future, the ongoing civil war in Myanmar puts the remaining Rohingya in Myanmar’s Rakhine State on the brink of total genocide. The Rohingya crisis unfolding before our eyes constantly reminds us of our collective failure to protect the most vulnerable.

According to the United Nations (UN), Rohingya are recognized as one of the most persecuted minority groups globally. The Rohingya, an ethnic minority group, have long resided in Myanmar's Rakhine State, their ancestral homeland. Despite their deep-rooted history in the region, they have endured relentless persecution and violence at the hands of the Myanmar government and military. Denied citizenship and stripped of basic rights, the Rohingya face systemic discrimination, limiting their access to education, healthcare, and employment opportunities.

Forced to flee their homes in the face of persecution, many Rohingya embark on perilous journeys, seeking refuge in neighbouring countries such as Bangladesh and Malaysia. However, even in their quest for safety, they encounter further hardships and uncertainties, as depicted in the powerful film "Lost at Sea." This poignant film, produced by Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) sheds light on the resilience of Rohingya refugees, offering a poignant portrayal of their struggles through the eyes of Rohingya like Muhib.

Amid the ongoing civil war in Myanmar's Rakhine State, the situation for the Rohingya remains dire and precarious as the escalating conflict within Myanmar itself has pushed the remaining Rohingya population to the brink of genocide. The military and the Arakan Army (AA) have intensified their fight, with Rohingya villages often becoming the battleground despite the Rohingya's non-involvement in the conflict. Reports of heavy bombing and casualties among the Rohingya population continue to emerge, highlighting the urgent need for international intervention to protect civilian lives and prevent further atrocities.

As the Rohingya crisis unfolds, it serves as a stark reminder of the urgent need for humanitarian assistance and global solidarity with forcibly displaced populations worldwide. Through initiatives like "Lost at Sea," we are compelled to confront the harsh realities faced by the Rohingya and advocate for their rights and dignity in the face of adversity.

Canada, despite its commitment to humanitarian leadership, has been notably sluggish in responding to the Rohingya crisis. While resettlement efforts are important, Canada must also prioritize diplomatic efforts and financial aid to address the root causes of the crisis and support affected communities. Canada should work with international partners to pressure the Myanmar government to end the persecution of Rohingya and uphold their human rights.

Additionally, Canada can provide support for humanitarian organizations operating in the region, ensuring that Rohingya refugees have access to essential services such as healthcare, education, and protection. It is imperative that Canada takes a proactive stance in addressing the Rohingya crisis, as failure to do so could result in the irreversible erasure of the Rohingya from their ancestral homeland.

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